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Battlestar Galactica’s Iconic Viper Starfighters Could Have Looked Like This

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VipersWhile Glen A. Larson’s original Battlestar Galactica may seem a little cheesy when viewed through cynical 21st-century eyes, it still had a helluva lot going for it. That incredible theme composed by Larson and Stu Phillips. There was the effects work by John Dykstra. And there was a foundation built by, among others, concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. With a per-episode budget of a then-unthinkable $1 million or more, Battlestar Galactica hoped to right the wave of excitement kicked up by Star Wars, and so Larson and company had the canny idea to hire McQuarrie to help imagine what the world of BSG would look like. He helped create the look of the ragtag fleet and the Viper starfighters that defended it, but they almost looked very different.

Below is a McQuarrie image showing the Viper BSG fans know and love, a design that was changed very little when it came time for Ronald D. Moore to reboot the series for The Sci-Fi Channel a few years back. It’s sleek shape is perfectly suited for those unforgettable sequences where the Vipers rocket down the Galactica’s launch tubes.

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Ralph McQuarrie’s Non-Star Wars Art Collected In Awesome Coffee Table Book

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ralph mcquarrieWhenever we talk about Star Wars art here on GFR, if often involves the stellar poster designs of Drew Struzan, but we’re going to another galaxy for this one. Academy Award-winning conceptual designer and illustrator Ralph McQuarrie was arguably best known for giving Darth Vader and R2-D2 their signature looks, but his career spanned many other areas than just George Lucas’ universe. And those who don’t mind footing the bill can Kickstart a massive coffee table book showcasing McQuarrie’s multi-faceted talents.

The The Art of Ralph McQuarrie: ARCHIVES crowdfunding campaign is being put together by Dreams and Visions Press, the company that published the original Art of Ralph McQuarrie back in 2007. This 432-page update brings together everything from the limited edition first printing, along with loads of never-before-seen pieces of his work in areas such as technical illustration, movie posters, book covers, non-Star Wars film work, other commercial pieces, and several of his own personal works.

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Star Wars, Planet Of The Apes, And Forbidden Planet Costume Test Images

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ApesIn this digital age, it’s easy to take for granted how simple it is to dig into the behind-the-scenes stories of pretty much any project you can think of. Special edition sets come packed with insightful commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and photo galleries. Websites and forums are often able to show you far more about any upcoming film than the filmmakers would ever prefer. So there’s something cool about making-of material from earlier decades when the wall between creator and consumer was a lot more daunting. These images from various sci-fi movie costume tests are pretty straightforward, but there’s still something charming about getting a look into a past when, for the most part, nobody outside the production would get to see this stuff until it was done. Especially when, as in the picture up top, they look like a mug shot from a DUI bust on the Planet of the Apes.

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Empire Strikes Back Teaser Trailer Shows Off Ralph McQuarrie’s Gorgeous Artwork

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While J.J. Abrams probably won’t actually begin teasing us with Star Wars footage for another year or so, that doesn’t mean the Star Wars camp isn’t up to releasing a teaser trailer for one one of their movies. In this case it’s The Empire Strikes Back, which opts for whip-pans and zoom-ins on the paintings created by the series’ conceptual artist and designer Ralph McQuarrie. There are a few screengrabs of the characters, including the quintessential Billy Dee Williams photo, and it employs a voiceover from someone who sounds like he just learned what Star Wars was on his way into the recording booth. In other words, it’s pretty fricking awesome, while also qualifying as terrible.

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Dr. Seuss Inspired Part Of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. (Plus, A Lovely Seuss/Jurassic Park Mashup)

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Dr. Seuss and E.T.. E.T. and Dr. Seuss. Both beloved staples of many a wide-eyed child’s upbringing. Both are bursting with imagination and creativity. Both have been known to make me cry, but that’s only because I was once hit in the eye by a carelessly thrown copy of Bartholomew and the Oobleck. All true, but there’s a more direct connection, one which most of us probably never knew about. It all comes down to that nifty, onion-shaped spacecraft that transports the lovable extraterrestrial back to wherever the hell it is he came from in the first place.

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